/ Modified jun 6, 2019 10:05 a.m.

Feds cut services to unaccompanied migrant kids in shelters

The agency overseeing shelters is slashing education, legal aid and recreation for migrant kids.

360 flores agreement Immigrant children rest at a detention facility in Nogales, Arizona in 2014.
AZPM Staff

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The number of unaccompanied migrant children caught at the U.S.-Mexico border spiked again in May to about 11,500, according to new government data.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees government-funded shelters in Arizona, is slashing education, legal aid and recreation for migrant kids.

Federal officials said they’ve asked Congress for billions of dollars in emergency money to manage the flow of children arriving at the border, and they’re cutting services not necessary for child safety because federal law requires them to avoid or limit overspending.

But a different federal law and the so-called Flores settlement require education, legal help and recreation for migrant kids.

The conflict will likely go before the federal judge overseeing the Flores case, and she has recently been ruling against the government, said Sarah Pierce, policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

“[The government is] going into this case maybe at a disadvantage in that respect. At the same it is completely true that they’re dealing with an unprecedented situation at the southern border,” Pierce said.

An email shared with KJZZ, which was sent by the government to an employee at a shelter provider, said cuts are retroactive to May 22.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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